The Cumberland Valley Business Alliance (CVBA) recently announced Dr. Annette Searfoss, President & CEO of First Start Partnerships, as the 2023 Business Person of the Year and Michelle Rebok as Ambassador of the Year during the Annual Meeting.
The event, sponsored by WellSpan Health, was hosted at Green Grove Gardens with approximately 275 CVBA members in attendance. The Business Person of the Year award has been given annually since 1987 to a person who has proven professional leadership and business accomplishments while having a positive impact on the community.
Searfoss was chosen as the Business Person of the Year recipient for her leadership of First Start Partnerships, expansion of childcare services in Franklin County and extensive community involvement. She has cultivated partnerships with many important organizations from the Franklin County Government to local school districts and medical organizations. She is known for her servant leadership attitude and works tirelessly to ensure families have access to quality childcare.
“Education is incredibly important for the economic growth and development of our region, and Annette has championed early childhood education in her role with First Start Partnerships,” said Bill Kick, chair of the CVBA Board of Directors. “Her passion and drive to support our rising generation is admirable and appreciated; it’s our honor to recognize her as the 2023 Business Person of the Year.”
Annette is involved in many community groups that help with early childhood education, workforce development and school readiness. She also serves on the board of several local, regional and state organizations including The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children and Pennsylvania’s State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care.
Rebok of CrossCountry Mortgage received the CVBA Ambassador of the Year award for her leadership and service as an ambassador over the past year. The CVBA Ambassadors are an extension of the Cumberland Valley Business Alliance and an integral part of membership engagement and connection. Ambassadors are volunteers who help build relationships and are central in helping CVBA members maximize their membership.
The first of its kind, the CVBA team created the Ambassador of the Year award to recognize an ambassador that has shown an exceptional commitment to serving the business community. Current CVBA Ambassadors had the opportunity to nominate each other and those applications were evaluated by the CVBA team.
“Michelle goes above and beyond serving on the welcoming committee of the ambassador group and volunteers at many ribbon cuttings, mixers and other events,” said Steve Christian, president of CVBA. “We appreciate her constant commitment to seeing our community prosper and she is exceptionally deserving of this award.”
In addition to networking and breakfast, guests also enjoyed a special keynote presentation by Angie Wilt, Adult Education Program Coordinator for LIU12 Franklin County Literacy Council. Wilt’s topic focused on literacy’s impact on communities. The lack of basic literacy skills places communities at higher risk for poor health, domestic abuse, crime and poverty. Low literacy effects the lives and livelihoods of one in five residents in Franklin County and increasing literacy skills in our local area could improve workforce and education opportunities.
The Cumberland Valley Business Alliance is a partnership between the Chambersburg and Greencastle-Antrim chambers of commerce. CVBA is the largest business advocacy organization in Franklin County with more than 825 members. It is committed to the prosperity of its members while enhancing the quality of life in the Cumberland Valley area. For more information, visit CVBAlliance.org.